The following is part of a colleague spotlight series. A new colleague spotlight will be published each Monday (Yeah, I realize today is not Monday. Oopsie!) To read all colleague spotlights that have been published thus far, simply visit the colleague spotlight category. This week’s interview is with Freddie Cheek with Cheek and Associates:
1. What led you to writing resumes? Do you have a background that made you an ideal fit for the industry?
I worked for an employment agency and then a recruiting firm. Resume writing was a critical part of the job since we needed compelling documents to send to potential employers.
My supervisors provided basic training and then I pursued higher-level coaching through professional organizations and resume writing classes.
2. Now that you’ve been in the industry for a while, would you recommend it to others? Why?
If you love to write (I’m a former English and journalism teacher), yet are comfortable within the confines of using other people’s information, this is a good match. Also, if you like the flexibility of diverse projects with quick resolution, this career will be enjoyable.
3. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations? Building your business? Improving efficiency?
Practice! The more you write, the more proficient you should become. The more people you interview, the better your interpersonal skills. The more people you serve, the more referrals you get.
4. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
Early in my career as a resume writer, I thought my work was pretty great. I had a strong grasp of wordsmithing and was a talented writer. I didn’t realize, however, that there are techniques and competencies that greatly enhance the look, appeal, and effectiveness of the resume. A great resume is more than just putting details on a page in an attractive format. I quickly learned that I needed to obtain ongoing training and interaction with other writers to keep my writing competitive.
5. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
I would have joined professional associations sooner so I could learn more about industry standards and what works best.
6. What advice would you give someone just entering the resume-writing industry?
Consider starting with a portfolio career that has a combination of revenue streams. You will need to build your private client business. Explore contracting assignments where you can get the practice and experience you will need. Take on part-time assignments (perhaps working for a recruiter or employment agency) to supplement your income.
7. How do you see our industry transforming over the next 12 months? 5 years? What do think resume writers need to know in order to survive?
The job market is continually changing and we need to be aware of hiring and job search shifts and innovations. That means providing more than just a Word document, so our clients can take advantage of job boards, resume tracking programs, etc.
We need to expand our range of services to include assistance with social networking (such as offering LinkedIn profiles), access to resume distribution, interview and job search coaching, and other add-ons to ensure a steady income.
Freddie Cheek, M.S. Ed., CCM, CPRW, CARW, CWDP, Cheek and Associates, LLC, (716) 835-6945, Fax: (928) 832-6945, [email protected], www.CheekandAssociates.com; Freddie Cheek has 30+ years’ experience in job search training, career coaching, resume writing, and human resources, and is a former high school journalism and English teacher. Her articles, interview and job search advice, and resume writing examples have been published in more than 20 books. Freddie has received numerous TORI nominations and several industry awards and has presented workshops, for job seekers, career changers, and job search professionals, throughout the US and in Canada.